Author Topic: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?  (Read 17877 times)

ltt

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #50 on: August 27, 2016, 12:20:03 PM »
Forget about what other people think....they are not paying your bills.

BlueHouse

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2016, 08:22:27 PM »
Thanks for your reply, simple life.  And sorry for misreading your og post.  I do think the keeping up with the joneses vibe is pretty strong in America.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions, like the guy who thinks he can impress his CFO by buying a fancy car.  I just don't think that's what this blog is all about.  If you're driving people around, whether clients or whatever, I think a clean, safe, well maintained car is what you need.  Buy a Mercedes or whatever to impress the boss and I think you've already moved pretty far away from the simplifying no bullshit spirit of this blog's philosophy.

To answer your question you're right I'm not as badass as the op.  My car is only 7 years old and I bought it used.  It is not a luxury brand.  In all my time working with all manner of people, high and low, left and right, it was never a factor and if it was I wouldn't have trucked with them.  And I am judgmental on this.  The type of person who would buy a car to impress someone and get ahead is not someone I want to hang with.  How else would they compromise their values and dissemble to get ahead? 

I probably am repeating myself but think about it this way--how easy is it to conform to expectations and "leverage" that.  How much harder is it to take a stand and try to change perceptions....
How else would I compromise my values?  Oh please, climb down from that high horse .   Having a cheap, beater car was never one of my "values".  So I bought a nicer car than I had ever had, and I've kept it for 10 years and it's still going strong.  But buying a car really doesn't reflect my values AT ALL.  You're judging people based on the car, just like you resent it when people do it to you.  Kettle, Kettle, Pot, Pot.   

RetiredAt63

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #52 on: August 28, 2016, 09:58:40 AM »
This discussion reminds me of the discussions about dressing for corporate America, and women who move in circles where they are judged by their clothes and jewellery, when at that point in their lives the judgment of these other people matters.

To me the Mustachian way of dealing with this is like judo - go with the flow but control it - buy the older car in great shape and have it looking like a collector car (gorgeous paint job, sparkling clean interior, smooth-running engine) and if anyone comments, blab on about how wonderful it is, they don't make cars like it any more, etc. My first car was a 1960s something Chevy Impala and I could get my bicycle in the trunk with no problem.  I miss that roominess, so I am sure you can find things to praise.  Just like getting designer clothes at the second hand store, or estate jewellery.  Just like I wore a skirt and jacket to work the days I had important meetings, when normally Biology teachers dress only slightly better than their students.

BTDretire

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #53 on: August 28, 2016, 04:55:53 PM »
Beater and older don't have to mean the same thing.
We are way past the usual MMM FI standard, plus much closer to SS,
and I'm very happy with our daily driver 1997 T-100 and a very rarely
driven 2001 *Avalon.

I like this line from another thread.

"I'm not here to go into debt to impress a neighbor I don't like."

Buy the car and enjoy it.

*this was an impulse** buy, by my wife while I was housebound with
severe back problems. We were sending a child off to college with our car,
and she thought we needed another car. We have driven it less than
2k miles in 6 years.

** in impulse buy for my wife is not like other people, she researched
and bought a very sharp car at a great price.




BlueHouse

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #54 on: August 29, 2016, 05:20:34 AM »
How else would I compromise my values?  Oh please, climb down from that high horse .   Having a cheap, beater car was never one of my "values".  So I bought a nicer car than I had ever had, and I've kept it for 10 years and it's still going strong.  But buying a car really doesn't reflect my values AT ALL. 

I don't know, Blue, this seems like a sensitive subject for you.  Our actions, including where and how we spend our money, do reflect our values.  Earlier you said you were sick of people getting on you for the car you bought.  I went back through your old threads and this is what you said about the subject in 2014:


So I was thinking about this last night and realized a few things:
I really don't care much about cars, so buying a fancy car for work purposes seemed like it wasn't for me, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it's not about the car at all.  It's about appearances, and apparently appearbances did mean more to me than I knew!  My income afforded me a small luxury and I thought it was important to appear more successful than I was, so I could become yet more successful.  This is just another method of "Keeping Up with the Joneses".   Bottom line:  I haven't learned anything yet!  So WestchesterFrugal, I think we both have to carefully examine our motives and look beneath the surface to find out what we're really doing.  I know I want to change and I don't want to be driven by buying more to earn more or earning more to buy more.


Have you changed your mind on this?  Because your self-analysis of the "keeping up with the joneses" subtext of trying to keep up appearances is basically my point of view as well.  So we may be violently in agreement!  But on this thread you seem more happy with your decision in retrospect.  In any case, I do think this whole question is interesting.  The OP is clearly way ahead of both of us, and good for you for keeping your car for 10 years, but to me the most interesting part of this thread is the question around how much we let others perceptions drive our behavior versus how much to consciously push back on that.  I don't think it's a black and white thing, but you certainly can see where my sympathies lie.
Well I would just say that iwas full of shit as a noob and hadn't really figured out the mustachian way yet, but that's not actually so far off what I'm saying. I still don't think I made a bad choice. I definitely did need or want something to project a sense of success. The only thing I would really change is buying it brand new. But that wasn't done to impress, that was done bc I never felt confident buying a used car.  My car choice was decent, but I don't want $600 car payments ever again.
What I'm really trying to say is that in some situations it does matter. It's part of the cost of me doing business and it helped me jump my salary four-fold.

Goldy

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #55 on: August 29, 2016, 06:06:53 AM »
I have a professional career and was in a similar situation to you with my 94 Oldsmobile cutlass cierra that only had 38k miles on it.  It was my grandmas church car and was in great shape aside from a little bit of sun damage and some minor rust. 

One day my boss rode with me somewhere and I expected him to razz me about it but he LOVED the car and was impressed with me not falling victim to buying a new car. 

BeardWannabe

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So I went through with the purchase. Negotiated down $100, which covered my mechanic's inspection fee (biggest issue was rubber CV boots starting to degrade and seeping grease ... likely will need to replace but already YouTubed directions for DIY on a $50 part that pulls $300 in labor). Anyone have advice on polishing up sun-faded paint on hood? Also considering taking out old backseats which are cracking and installing some I've found in junkyard searches.

My first day in the garage ... and look what parked next to me? Seems like this could be a MMM poster. This monster pickup truck seriously spends 9+ hours every weekday in an urban office-park garage.


ketchup

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #57 on: September 06, 2016, 08:41:19 PM »
Awesome.  Before my little red Metro died, I got this nice shot in the parking lot at work next to all the hotshots.  One of these things is not like the others.

chasesfish

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #58 on: September 06, 2016, 08:57:21 PM »
Congrats on your purchase.

Regarding all the comments, everyone has to figure out what is the minimum acceptable vehicle for the position, especially if you are in a job where you go out and see clients.  The answer is different at every place and different parts of the country.

I'm in Texas as both a manager and someone who sees white and blue collar clients and my 10 yr old Honda Ridgeline is just fine.  I probably wouldn't go much older, but what you drive also depends on the confidence you have in yourself.  It's pretty rare you have to have a luxury car to fit in (but I have seen it).

« Last Edit: September 07, 2016, 06:33:51 AM by chasesfish »

hoping2retire35

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #59 on: September 07, 2016, 01:26:28 PM »
Looks pretty respectable to me!

Keep those seats btw. just add some matching leather dye for the small cracks. I am in the process of researching how to do good/convenient/cheap leather seat repair. Will post when i find it.

JLee

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The tone of your post seemed all about "getting by" and it seemed like you would move to the Lexus SUV camp in a heartbeat if it was expedient.  In contrast I don't think there is EVER a reason to buy a clowncar like that.

Sure there is. I'm in the minority of "people who've driven Lexus SUVs", but to say there's not EVER a reason is a bit presumptuous on your part.

So I went through with the purchase. Negotiated down $100, which covered my mechanic's inspection fee (biggest issue was rubber CV boots starting to degrade and seeping grease ... likely will need to replace but already YouTubed directions for DIY on a $50 part that pulls $300 in labor). Anyone have advice on polishing up sun-faded paint on hood? Also considering taking out old backseats which are cracking and installing some I've found in junkyard searches.

My first day in the garage ... and look what parked next to me? Seems like this could be a MMM poster. This monster pickup truck seriously spends 9+ hours every weekday in an urban office-park garage.

Re-booting CVs is messy and not the easiest project to do. Before you commit to that, I would price remanufactured axle assemblies.  A boot kit from Toyota for a Tacoma was about $70, IIRC, and I bought two remanufactured axles for about $100 combined. MUCH faster/easier and less messy to just swap the whole thing.

BeardWannabe

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #61 on: September 07, 2016, 08:14:41 PM »
Found several DIY videos on replacing the half shaft.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hHGgWJlPNU

And here's one promoting something called Easy Boot where you just replace the boot.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLrGNU_t83Y

This car has been driven so little over the last several years that I believe very little has gotten inside the boot to contaminate the axle. However, I do think the age of the car makes it likely that the rubber on those CV boots are cracking.

Appreciate any more info.

On the seats ... the top (shoulders) are pretty much turning to powder if you press them. Would like my kids to at least have a comfortable seat and have it look a bit nicer.

flashpacker

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #62 on: September 07, 2016, 11:47:42 PM »
My spouse is a medical doctor who rocks a 1996 Honda Accord, purchased 2nd hand in around 1998. 

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #63 on: September 08, 2016, 08:24:15 AM »
Relevant post about this on WCI that generated a lot of interest. Quite a few mustachian docs in the comments.

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/how-to-get-rich-by-driving-a-5000-car/

ketchup

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #64 on: September 08, 2016, 09:06:42 AM »
Relevant post about this on WCI that generated a lot of interest. Quite a few mustachian docs in the comments.

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/how-to-get-rich-by-driving-a-5000-car/
Good article, except for that penultimate paragraph where he does a bit of a 180 and somehow mentions a $50-60k SUV as reasonable...

The Happy Philosopher

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #65 on: September 08, 2016, 09:42:27 AM »
Relevant post about this on WCI that generated a lot of interest. Quite a few mustachian docs in the comments.

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/how-to-get-rich-by-driving-a-5000-car/
Good article, except for that penultimate paragraph where he does a bit of a 180 and somehow mentions a $50-60k SUV as reasonable...
Hahaha! It does seem crazy at first blush, but I would argue for him it makes total sense. He wants an SUV for his lifestyle (hauling boats, driving off road, moving 6 or more people often, etc). He makes more money than he can spend through working as a doc and blogging. He drove $5000 vehicles until he was rich, then decided to spent his money on luxury items (and paid cash). Is it an efficient use of money? No. Is it reasonable for him? Yes. My guess is a 50k vehicle is a rounding error to his net worth. I would probably do the same thing if I were in his situation.

ketchup

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #66 on: September 08, 2016, 11:12:27 AM »
Relevant post about this on WCI that generated a lot of interest. Quite a few mustachian docs in the comments.

http://whitecoatinvestor.com/how-to-get-rich-by-driving-a-5000-car/
Good article, except for that penultimate paragraph where he does a bit of a 180 and somehow mentions a $50-60k SUV as reasonable...
Hahaha! It does seem crazy at first blush, but I would argue for him it makes total sense. He wants an SUV for his lifestyle (hauling boats, driving off road, moving 6 or more people often, etc). He makes more money than he can spend through working as a doc and blogging. He drove $5000 vehicles until he was rich, then decided to spent his money on luxury items (and paid cash). Is it an efficient use of money? No. Is it reasonable for him? Yes. My guess is a 50k vehicle is a rounding error to his net worth. I would probably do the same thing if I were in his situation.
I guess in context it seems a bit less insane.  It just appeared abrupt to me as I was reading it.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2016, 11:17:08 AM »
My spouse is a medical doctor who rocks a 1996 Honda Accord, purchased 2nd hand in around 1998.

I love seeing those old hondas on the road.  It's so cool.

I'm also impressed by the old subarus on the road.  Some of the older foresters look impeccable, like brand new with a sparkle.  I sometimes wonder how the owners pull that off--as if they're taking care of their cars with a precision and diligence I can only admire from afar.  Personally, I've always liked having a car that is not impeccable so that I remember it's only a car and don't get attached or nervous about parking it in a bad neighborhood or whatever.  But that doesn't mean I don't admire the other way of doing it.

Well, my grandmother is 91, lives in a small town, and drives a late-'90s Subaru. It looks pretty darn good and it probably has under 50,000 miles on it. That kind of person might be the origin of some of these.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2016, 01:13:59 PM »
I work in Comm./Marketing/PR and sort of have a fantasy of someone asking me about my beat-up car and how it's unprofessional. I imagine telling them that, "I run my personal life in much the same way as I run my professional one. I need a trustworthy vehicle to transport me from point A to point B, anything luxurious is superfluous. In life, I eliminate the superfluous, optimize the necessary, and keep a huge margin in case of error. Tell me again if you trust me to run your projects?"

But then again, I have never had the opportunity to voice this opinion in professional circles, so I don't know yet how it would go over.

Aelias

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #69 on: September 08, 2016, 02:01:19 PM »
I'm an attorney, make over $100K, and drive an almost 14-year-old Jeep worth maybe $4K. I'd buy the car, fix a few of the cosmetic issues, and enjoy all those years of free driving.

The ONLY reason to get a "nicer" car if you're a "professional" is if you're having to drive clients around in it.  Even then, as long as it's clean and well maintained, I don't think anyone will care.  You may get a few teases when you first bring it in, and then no one will care.

PS. I am also an attorney making over $100K per year, and I take the bus to work. Good ol', no frills, city bus. No one cares.

pbkmaine

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For the sunbleached paint, try washing it, then using rubbing compound on the dull spots. Turtle Wax makes one.

jom2025

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #71 on: September 08, 2016, 08:03:20 PM »
I have just read this thread this is great . Lol I have an 86 year old uncle who gave me advice thirty five years ago that i still hold dear to my heart.
He said never buy a brand new car . He said pay attention, a young person goes out gets a job and first thing they want to do is purchase a brand new car. He stated A NEW CAR IS A WORKING MANS DOWNFALL!
He drilled into my head get a P.I.F. car they run better. When i questioned what a P.I.F. car was he replied Paid In Full.
His advice thirty five years ago could have made him a true Mustachian back then lol.
He lives very frugal to this day has given his time as well as resources and advice to people who will listen.  FOR FREE
I guess thats why he is such a Great Uncle .

Dicey

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Re: Can respectable professional like me really buy a cheap "beater" car?
« Reply #72 on: September 08, 2016, 08:28:16 PM »
Only other factor to mention ... there's an awesome story I can tell about how I came to find the car and the guy selling it and some unknown connections. .
So, can you tell the story now, or are you going to continue the suspense?

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!